Professional Actors to Perform Local Student’s Play

A Frederick County high school student is getting her work performed at Wayside Theatre by professional actors.

Sherando High School student Libby Powell won a playwrights’ competition with her play ‘Death at a Bus Stop’.

The judges all agreed that her play stood out from the other seven entries.

“For someone as young as she is, can write adult characters and situations, very believably,” said Thomasin Savaiano, who is head of the program. “Usually, kids they haven’t lived it, they don’t know. It also had this little edgy bit of death. Death is in the play. It was an intriguing concept.”

Admission to the play reading is free and will be performed next Tuesday at seven p-m followed by a question and answer session with her about her work.

Operation Valley Venue, Cracking Down on Drugs

A special operation conducted by the Northwest VA Regional Drug and Gang Task Force cracked down on illegal narcotics in the area.

The eight hour operation happened Thursday night. It’s called “Operation Valley Venue.” More than a handful of people got arrested in Winchester and Frederick County.

Here is a list of them:
Jeremy Simpson – probation violation
Matthew Hoenig – possession of narcotics and probation violation
Terry Johnson – providing false information to a law enforcement officer
Carroll Smith – possession of marijuana
Bradley Martin – probation violation
Kathleen Stickley – possession of marijuana

During the searches, they found heroin, marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and prescription drugs. And they took more than $900 from a home in the 100 block of Lamden Avenue. Also, five homes were cited with code violations and a residence on Bellview Avenue was deemed uninhabitable by Zoning and Inspections.

This was the first operation of its kind conducted in Winchester and Frederick County. They say it’s part of the Task Force’s effort to get drugs off our streets and make our area a safer place to live.

State Won’t Privatize Sex Offender Program

Virginia has rejected bids by two companies to operate a state facility that detains violent sex offenders for treatment after their sentences are completed.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that state officials who evaluated the proposals thought Florida-based GEO Group focused too much on incarceration and not enough on treatment. Pennsylvania-based Liberty Healthcare Corp. scored better on treatment, but its bid was $2.4 million higher than the state is spending to run the facility itself.

The unsolicited bids to operate the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Burkeville were submitted in 2011. Meghan McGuire of the state Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services says a review determined the existing operation is comparable to or better than the proposals, and there was no long-term financial advantage to privatization.

Outages Near 112,000 in Va As Storm Reaches State

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Nearly 112,000 customers are without power and schools are closed in parts of Virginia as a late-winter storm moves across the state.

The outages include about 65,700 Dominion Virginia Power customers, more than 43,000 customers of electric cooperatives and about 3,240 Appalachian Power customers.

Most of the outages are in the Shenandoah Valley.

The University of Virginia and public school systems in the affected areas canceled classes Wednesday. Local government offices in Culpeper, Waynesboro and several other localities also are closed.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for these areas.

The National Weather Service says parts of northern and western Virginia could see more than a foot of snow.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it has plenty in its snow-removal budget to tackle the storm.

Va. Records 1st Death Linked to Winter Storm

State police say a 22-year-old Russell County man was killed early Thursday after his vehicle ran off Route 632 in southwest Virginia, went over an embankment and landed upside down in a creek. Trooper S.A. Sutherland said road conditions were icy.

The victim was identified as James D. Hess of the community of Swords Creek.

As of midnight Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to more than 650 storm-related traffic accidents and about 570 disabled vehicles across the state. State police say a majority of the crashes involved only damaged vehicles.

Virginia Trooper Killed In The Line of Duty

Gov. Bob McDonnell says a trooper involved in a shooting along Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie County has died.

McDonnell says 40-year state police veteran Master Trooper Junius Walker was shot while on duty on Thursday.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says Walker was shot multiple times around 1:30 p.m. He called for backup, and a trooper who arrived within two minutes saw a male suspect shooting into Walker’s car. The second trooper fired at the suspect, who fled into the woods on foot.

The suspect was arrested before 2 p.m. Charges are pending.

Geller says authorities are working to determine if another suspect was involved in the shooting, near the 45-mile marker.

A portion of the interstate remains closed while police investigate.

Local Missing Girl May Have Been Abducted As Part Of Sex Trafficking Ring

New details emerged Friday in a press conference at the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office regarding missing 16 year old Augusta County girl Jennifer Carolina Romero.

Sheriff Fisher said that while she still may possibly be a runaway, all signs point to her being abducted as part of a sex trafficking ring.

Mynor Franco-Depaz has been arrested in relation to the case and is charged with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The investigation continues with the assistance of The Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and the FBI.

Va Schools Earn Education Excellence Award

2013 Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence

Two schools – Rocky Run Middle in Fairfax County and Kemps Landing Magnet in Virginia Beach – earned the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence, the highest VIP award. Both schools will receive a display banner and a signed resolution of commendation from Governor McDonnell. No school divisions qualified for a Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence.

2013 Board of Education Excellence Awards

Fifty-one schools earned the Board of Education Excellence Award, the second-tier honor in the VIP program. These schools also met all state and federal accountability benchmarks for at least two consecutive years and made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities set by the board.

The schools receiving Board of Education Excellence Awards are as follows:

Albemarle County – Virginia L. Murray Elementary
Arlington County – Arlington Science Focus School, Arlington Traditional, Ashlawn Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Nottingham Elementary and Taylor Elementary
Charlottesville – Greenbrier Elementary
Chesterfield County – Bettie Weaver Elementary, Robious Elementary, Winterpock Elementary and Woolridge Elementary
Fairfax County – Archer Elementary, Canterbury Woods Elementary, Chesterbrook Elementary, Colvin Run Elementary, Cooper Middle, Floris Elementary, Great Falls Elementary, Greenbriar West Elementary, Haycock Elementary, Hunt Valley Elementary, Longfellow Middle, McNair Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary, Thoreau Middle, West Springfield Elementary, Westbriar Elementary and Wolftrap Elementary
Hampton – Francis Asbury Elementary
Hanover County – Pearson’s Corner Elementary and Pole Green Elementary
Henrico County – Echo Lake Elementary, Glen Allen Elementary, Nuckols Farm Elementary, Rivers Edge Elementary, Shady Grove Elementary and Twin Hickory Elementary
Loudoun County – Lincoln Elementary and Pinebrook Elementary
Montgomery County – Gilbert Linkous Elementary
Prince William County – Mary G. Porter Traditional and Mountain View Elementary
Pulaski County – Snowville Elementary
Roanoke – Crystal Spring Elementary
Roanoke County – Bonsack Elementary, Cave Spring Middle and Oak Grove Elementary
Virginia Beach – Old Donation Center
Williamsburg-James City County – Matoaka Elementary

2013 Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Awards:

The Board of Education Distinguished Achievement Award was earned by one division – West Point – and 98 schools that met all state and federal benchmarks for at least two consecutive years and made progress toward the goals of the governor and the board.

The schools receiving Distinguished Achievement awards are as follows:

Albemarle County – Hollymead Elementary, Meriwether Lewis Elementary and Mortimer Y. Sutherland Middle
Amherst County – Temperance Elementary
Arlington County – Henry Elementary and Jamestown Elementary
Carroll County – Fancy Gap Elementary
Charlotte County – Eureka Elementary
Charlottesville – Venable Elementary
Chesterfield County – Elizabeth Scott Elementary, Enon Elementary, Grange Hall Elementary and W.W. Gordon Elementary
Danville – Forest Hills Elementary
Fairfax County – Camelot Elementary, Forest Edge Elementary, Fox Mill Elementary, Franklin Middle, Frost Middle, Kent Gardens Elementary, Kings Glen Elementary, Mantua Elementary, Oakton Elementary, Olde Creek Elementary, Sherman Elementary, Springfield Estates Elementary, Stratford Landing Elementary, Sunrise Valley Elementary, Vienna Elementary, Westgate Elementary and Willow Springs Elementary
Falls Church – Mount Daniel School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary
Franklin County – Boones Mill Elementary, Burnt Chimney Elementary, Gereau Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration and Snow Creek Elementary
Gloucester County – Achilles Elementary
Hampton – Armstrong Elementary
Hanover County – Cool Spring Elementary, Kersey Creek Elementary, South Anna Elementary and Washington-Henry Elementary
Henrico County – Arthur Ashe Jr. Elementary, Colonial Trail Elementary, Gayton Elementary, Jackson Davis Elementary, Pemberton Elementary, Short Pump Elementary, Springfield Park Elementary, Three Chopt Elementary and Tuckahoe Elementary
Henry County – Rich Acres Elementary
Isle of Wight County – Carrsville Elementary
Loudoun County – Aldie Elementary, Ashburn Elementary, Belmont Station Elementary, Hamilton Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Lowes Island Elementary and Round Hill Elementary
Montgomery County – Auburn Elementary and Harding Avenue Elementary
Norfolk – Larchmont Elementary
Prince George County – L.L. Beazley Elementary
Prince William County – A. Henderson Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Elementary and Westridge Elementary
Richmond – Broad Rock Elementary
Roanoke – Fishburn Park Elementary, Grandin Court Elementary and Wasena Elementary
Roanoke County – Back Creek Elementary, Cave Spring Elementary, Clearbrook Elementary, Fort Lewis Elementary, Glenvar Middle, Green Valley Elementary, Penn Forest Elementary and W.E. Cundiff Elementary
Rockingham County – Peak View Elementary and South River Elementary
Russell County – Cleveland Elementary
Scott County – Weber City Elementary
Spotsylvania County – Chancellor Elementary
Stafford County – Garrisonville Elementary
Suffolk – Northern Shores Elementary
Tazewell County – Abb’s Valley-Boissevain Elementary
Virginia Beach – John B. Dey Elementary, Kingston Elementary and Red Mill Elementary
Waynesboro – Westwood Hills Elementary
West Point – West Point Elementary
Williamsburg-James City County – Matthew Whaley Elementary and Rawls Byrd Elementary
Wise County – Coeburn Primary
York County – Coventry Elementary and Mount Vernon Elementary


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Officials say 151 public schools and one school division in Virginia have earned the highest awards given under a state incentive program.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the winners of the 2013 Virginia Index of Performance awards on Wednesday.

The Virginia Board of Education created the incentive program in 2007. It recognizes schools and divisions that exceed minimum state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the board.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright says the program provides incentives for schools to expand academic opportunities for all students and to adopt best practices that result in engaging, safe and healthy learning environments.

Amendment Bars Abortion in Va Federal Exchange

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to prohibit abortion coverage through insurance plans purchased through the federally run health care exchange that will serve Virginia.

The Republican governor added the amendment to health reform legislation that passed the General Assembly earlier this year, outraging abortion rights advocates.

Unless opponents can muster at least 51 votes in the 100-member, Republican-ruled House of Delegates and 21 votes in the state Senate, the sweeping abortion restriction will become law.

Under the amendment, not only will insurers who are part of the federal exchange be unable to offer plans that cover abortion, they can’t write separate, optional riders covering it.

The only coverage exceptions would be for rape, incest or protect the life of a pregnant woman.